A Foreclosure sign is seen in front of a home in Miami Beach, Fla.
A Foreclosure sign is seen in front of a home in Miami Beach, Fla. - 
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STACEY VANEK SMITH: It has been a strange year for the economy. The markets are back at pre-recession highs. Companies have reported strong earnings. But unemployment remains high and the housing market is still sputtering. What will the next year hold?

Jill Schlesinger is editor at large for CBS moneywatch.com. She joins us live in New York with her crystal ball. Good morning, Jill.


VANEK SMITH: Jill, economists have been pretty bullish about 2011 so far. What do you think?

SCHLESINGER: I think they're probably right on. We should see economic growth of around 4 percent, that sure is better than the 2.5 percent we've seen in the last couple of quarters. Unemployment rate, I expect to average around 9 percent. I don't think there's going to be one whiff of inflation, and I don't think the Fed is going to do anything. I think Ben Bernanke might as well take next year off.

VANEK SMITH: That's good news. Maybe not for Ben Bernanke. What's out there that could potentially trip up the economic recovery?

SCHLESINGER: Obviously the job market is really key to creating a broad based recovery. But I think the issues that are really still pretty scary are the housing market. You know when we had the foreclosuregate, where we stopped foreclosures at the end of this year, that's just going to push the activity into next year and I'm a little nervous about that. I'm less worried about what's going to happen in Europe and even our own municipalities. I think the foreclosure activity is the big scary piece that's standing out there.

VANEK SMITH: What has to happen for economy to turn really around?

SCHLESINGER: What has to happen is that we really do need a broad based job creation that we see across a lot of different income spectrum. I think without that you get consumer uneasy and you don't have people spending freely. It's not just that you're scared about losing your own job. When people stop knowing so many people who are hurting, and who are now finding people who are saying, "Oh I'm getting a job," that's going to be the key. It's go to turn around both emotionally and we've got to see that unemployment rate get back down under 8 percent.

VANEK SMITH: Jill Schlesinger is the editor at large for CBS Moneywatch.com. Thank you, Jill!

SCHLESINGER: Thank you and Merry Christmas.

VANEK SMITH: Merry Christmas to you.